France fines Google €250m for negotiating ‘in good faith’ with media

France’s competition authority announced this Wednesday that it would impose a 250 million euro fine over a dispute over media content payments, saying it believed there was no real willingness to negotiate with the American giant. In its decision, the competition authority accuses Google of failing to fulfill the commitment made in June 2021, and specifically of failing to comply with four of the seven points that were then established in the agreement between the two parties.

For the French regulator, Google has yet to meet its obligations to negotiate with the media “in good faith, based on transparent, objective and non-discriminatory criteria”. First of all, remember that the Internet company has since taken advantage of the transaction procedure, which involved not questioning the facts of which it was accused, and proposed a series of corrective measures in response to some of the reprimands.

The regulator emphasizes that it did not respect the need for editors or press agencies to provide information necessary to transparently assess their remuneration for related rights. Nor to take the necessary measures so that the negotiations do not affect the economic relations with its editors and press agencies.

elDiario.es has contacted Google to include its position in this information, but has not yet received a response.

Abuse of artificial intelligence

France’s competition authority has in turn criticized Google for using its artificial intelligence service Bard, which launched in July 2023.

First, because it used media content to train this AI, and without warning the media or the authority itself. Also because Google has not provided a technical solution to allow publishers and press agencies to object to Bard’s use of their content without affecting the results of copyrighted content appearing on other Google services.

In this way, the Internet giant affects the media’s ability to negotiate compensation, according to his analysis.

Wednesday’s sanction is the fourth decision by the French competition authority in four years against Google for using copyrighted media content. They all stem from a July 2019 French law that transposed a European directive from April of the same year that sought to establish “balanced negotiating conditions” between media and digital platforms. France has already fined Google in 2020 to force it to negotiate with the media.

In short, the aim was to develop a framework, in favor of the press, on the distribution of remuneration for its content, taking into account the major changes that have taken place in the sector, especially due to the growth of the digital audience that eats. Readers of the paper press, and because it is these digital platforms that capture the bulk of online advertising.

Source: El Diario

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